Twin Cities Jazz Festival and more

Pianist Matthew Whitaker
Courtesy of Twin Cities Jazz Festival

It’s about that time – time for the 2022 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. This year’s festival takes place June 24-25 in Mears Park, located in Lowertown St. Paul.

Headliners include Matthew Whitaker Quintet (June 24 at 8:30 p.m.), Emmet Cohen Trio with Bruce Harris (June 24 at 6 p.m.), Treme Brass Band (June 25 at 8:30 p.m.), Brandon Goldberg Quintet with Marcus Strickland, Josh Evans, Ben Wolfe and Aaron Kimmel (June 25 at 6 p.m.), Bruce Henry and The Evolution of African American Music (June 25 at 4 p.m.) and the Zacc Harris Group (June 25 at 2 p.m.).

The TC Jazz Fest is free and open to the public and is one of the largest music events in the Upper Midwest. The festival attracts hundreds of thousands of people from all over. Food and beverage options will also be available on site.

Whitaker is a piano prodigy. The Treme Brass Band hails from New Orleans. A full festival program will be available closer to the event. For more information, visit

More hot jazz on the horizon

Summer has just begun, but it’s never too early to start planning for the end of summer.

The Detroit Jazz Festival has announced its 2022 lineup. Performers this year include Chucho Valdes, Bill Frisell, Jose James, Dianne Reeves and John Scofield and the New Orleans Groove Masters, among others.

The festival takes place over Labor Day weekend, September 2-5, at Hart Plaza and Campus Martius Park. Performances will also be streamed live for free via

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington and pianist Herbie Hancock will co-lead a tour this summer. So far, only 10 shows are scheduled starting with a date in Vienna, Virginia. The tour will tentatively end on August 23 in Berkeley, California. Other stops on the tour include the Newport Jazz Festival, Seattle, Detroit, Toronto, Portland and Philadelphia.

Washington and Hancock will undoubtedly make some great music together, so let’s hope some new music springs from this dynamic collaboration. Speaking of new music, Cuban-American pianist Martin Bejerano has released a new album called “Yo No Bailo”. In English, the title translates to “I don’t dance”.

Legendary saxophonist Charles Lloyd will release “Trio of Trios”, a series of three albums featuring different trios. Blue Note Records will release the albums individually, and they can also be pre-ordered exclusively from the US Blue Note Store as a 3-LP vinyl box set.

The one I’m most interested in is called “Chapel,” featuring guitarist Bill Frisell and bassist Thomas Morgan. Frisell and Morgan sound great together and will sound even better with Lloyd.

Pianist Joey Alexander has released a new album on Mack Avenue Records titled “Origin”. This is Alexander’s first record of any original material, which is something because if you’ve heard him play some of his originals live, you’ll enjoy this album. His original material is as lively and compelling as a veteran musician with new music.

Saxophonist Kenny Garrett is on the cover of JazzTimes magazine. Garrett talks about his album “Sounds from the Ancestors”. His Mack Avenue label won the Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Award for Label of the Year. The June issue of JazzTimes also features an interview with writer David Fricke.

Coming to The Dakota, look for jazz singer Samara Joy on June 25. She won the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition and is currently touring in support of new music coming out in 2021. Her sound is said to be both contemporary and classic.

Willie J. Johnson